Arizona leaps back in top 10 bike friendly states

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Arizona jumped four spots to become the 10th friendliest state for bicyclists according to the League of American Bicyclists’ newest rankings, released earlier this week.

The ranking returns Arizona to the top 10 after falling to number 16 in 2011. The last time Arizona cracked the top to was in 2009, which was before many states and cities started to get serious about their bicycle programs.

League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke said there were several reasons for Arizona’s move up including the economic impact study the state is conducting on bicycling.

Additionally the passing of Joey’s Law, which stiffens the penalties for motorists who feel the scene of a crash, scored additional points in the state comparisons.

Clarke said the LAB also appreciated that the state was beginning to count people using automatic counters.

“In the middle 25-to-40 states doing a few things like that is enough bump up a few spots in the rankings,” he said. “It’s good and we are obviously delighted those things are happening, but it will take much more to get higher up in the top 10.”

The LAB’s reccomendations for improving our rankings include:

• Adopt a vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for amotorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian.

• Develop a Police Officer Standards andTraining (POST) curriculum for bicycling enforcement both for new officers and continuing education – focus on laws related to bicyclists, interactions between motorists and bicyclists, and bicycle collision investigation.

• Integrate bicycle enforcement training into the police academy curriculum for new officers.

• Adopt a statewide, all-ages cell phone and texting ban to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone.

• Collect data regarding enforcement actions against motorists based on incidents with bicycles, such as traffic tickets issued, prosecutions, or convictions.

• Create a system of state bike routes that are safe (e.g.wide shoulders, bike lanes, etc.), connect to destinations, and are suitable for all types of bicyclists.

• Dedicate state funding for bicycle projects and programs, especially those focused on safety and eliminating gaps and increasing access for bicycle networks.

• Hold a state bicycle summit with opportunities for professional development, contact with elected officials, and networking.

• Add bicycle safety as an emphasis area in the state Strategic Highway Safety Plan and aggressively fund bike safety projects.

• Ensure that bicycle safety is a major emphasis in all transportation projects, programs and policies to address this issue.

Check out Arizona’s “report card” here.

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2 comments
Gabrielle
Gabrielle

Yes, yes, yes! to all the recommendations. Also, we need to address the one area that held the lowest ranking for us: Bicycle infrastructure. Because we desperately need infrastructure that works for ALL riders, and for ALL types of pedal-powered vehicles like upright adult tricycles, recumbent trikes, cargo bikes, etc. Right now, our antiquated  style of bike lanes are just not wide enough for those types of "utility" models.  A pity, since the kind of weather we get most of the year here in Tucson is just ideal for using such pedal-vehicles for things like groceries, other shopping, picnics, child and pet park trips... ok, day dreaming again of roads full of happily pedaling people  =)

3wheeler
3wheeler

I like most of their suggestions.   I really like the idea to improve connectivity.  There are many places in AZ that you can't go without getting on a freeway.